Marketing Planning Breakdown: Begin With the End in Mind

| By JG Wolfe

As part one in a follow up to my recent post Trick question: Are you a marketing planner or a marketing doer?, I want to take time to delve a little deeper on the qualities that comprise an effective marketing plan. While a plan can take many forms, it should meet some fundamental requirements, including:

Let’s dig into the first requirement involving goals and objectives. There are probably as many opinions and approaches to goal-setting as there are stars in the sky. At Reuben Rink, we tend to gravitate toward the KISS and SMART techniques in this space.

Marketing Plan How ToI like the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach because establishing marketing objectives isn’t rocket science. In many ways, overarching objectives should naturally rise to the surface. These are broad concepts that should align with the overall objectives of the business but have the ability to be affected by marketing-specific efforts.

I like keeping the SMART method in mind when capturing goals, since these should be well-defined and meet certain criteria. Setting ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-related keeps you in check. Otherwise, you may be spewing out goals that have little connection to the outcome you really need to achieve. In my experience, fewer is better.

The terms ‘objective’ and ‘goal’ often have varying interpretations, and the two are commonly used interchangeably. Let me specify how we use the terms for our planning purposes at RR…An objective is an overall end result that, once achieved, will move the business in a desired direction…A goal is a more explicit and detailed result that meets the criteria above and helps reach an objective in a measurable way. Here are simple examples of each:

OBJECTIVE: Be in the top 5 in market share for our primary product offering.  

GOAL: Increase new customer sales for primary product by 40% by year end.          

The objectives and goals established as part of a marketing plan set the stage for strategies and tactics developed later in the process. Naturally, it’s important that they are well thought out and don’t send you down the wrong path. That being said, don’t get bogged down at this early stage. Sometimes it’s best to begin working from initial objectives and goals and revisit them for adjustment later as needed. Whatever you do, don’t skip this step. Here’s an appropriate quote from Geoffry F. Abert to keep in mind: “The most important thing about goals…is having one.”

If you find this helpful, please keep an eye out for additional posts on the key components of an effective marketing plan. Next up: defining audiences.   

Developing a marketing strategy is one of the many capabilities Reuben Rink provides as a full-service agency. Contact us today to explore how we can help your business develop a thorough marketing plan!